Saturday, 30 March 2013

Karen Curley’s Views on infrastructure and Tourism in Ghana……

Poor sanitation: A man rinses his hands in flood water while cleaning out a house in a hard-hit neighbor hood in Staten Island (


“Americans are just scared of the world. I mean, really scared. Maybe even petrified. In this post-9/11 world, Americans have been taught that the world is a big, frightening place. There are terrorists outside every hotel waiting to kidnap you. People don’t like you because you are American. The world is violent. It’s poor. It’s dirty. It’s savage. Canada and Europe are O.K., but, if you go there, they will still be rude to you because you are American. No one likes us.”



“In 2011, the official poverty rate was 15.0 percent. There were 46.2 million people in poverty.” United States Census Bureau

“The poverty rate in 2011 for children under age 18 was 21.9 per-cent. The poverty rate for people aged 18 to 64 was 13.7 percent, while the rate for people aged 65 and older was 8.7 percent.” United States Census Bureau


“In 2011, 50.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children.” Feeding America

“In 2011, 57.2 percent of food-insecure households participated in at least one of the three major Federal food assistance programs –Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamp Program), The National School Lunch Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.” Feeding America



“While an international law recognizes the human right to water, unfortunately there is no binding enforcement and in the US there are no laws guaranteeing that you'll have clean water or that you'll be protected from water shut-offs if you can't afford it. One of the areas that has been hardest hit is Detroit, a city that is majority African American. The unemployment rate is 1 in 6 and in some neighborhoods as high as 50 percent. As a result, water use went down too -- Detroit's water utility supplied 20 percent less water in 2009 than it did in 2003…………

In 2006, the number of people who had their water shut off reached 45,000. Unpaid water bills were added to property taxes, meaning that people who couldn't pay risked losing not just access to clean water and sanitation, but their homes as well.

Elsewhere in the US there are similar issues. An estimated 13 percent of Native Americans lack access to safe water and/or wastewater disposal, compared to less than 1 percent of non-native American households.

The racial disparities abound elsewhere, too. In California's Central Valley, many Latino farmworker communities have unsafe drinking water, mostly from nitrate pollution from farms and feedlots.”




Paulina Opoku-Gyimah says: I was minding my own business when the following text flagged up on my Facebook page and I was perplexed ---and as you can tell, --disappointed!!!

It’s not that I think Ghana is perfect (hell no) or that there’s no truth in what was written,-only that as an emerging economy, said text was sooo grossly exaggerated in the most negative, misleading way, thus, I don’t know if photographer (???) Karen Curley has ever travelled outside of America before her trip to Ghana, ---apparently only 15% of Americans own passports ( !!!

Also, l can’t quite work out ----especially as she is calling herself a photographer (???) ……–if she has visit other African countries before,  as most photographers tend to be very open, worldly and well-travelled… Only, and I’m only guessing here,…. by the tone of the following text, ---one submitted to much-read Huffington Post under one of the most contentious titles I’ve ever read –which makes for very sober reading, --- Karen Curley’s views are very narrow!!!

I wonder, what did Karen Curley think Ghana was going to be like, Hollywood??? Because if that is the case, Karen Curley might be shocked to discover that very few neighbourhoods in her very own ‘America’ resemble Hollywood!!!!

The thing is….. I’m trying desperately to put myself in her shoes –and can only come up with …my first ever trip to New York, ---when I went to stay with some family members in Mosholu Parkway, Bronx ---and dared to venture into South Bronx on my own with my camera!!! Needless to say, I was beyond shocked by what greeted me.

I guess I too would have, if I was that way inclined, written a piece for the Huffington Post ---telling folk not to venture into South Bronx, well, certainly not on your own; because like Karen Curley, the men wouldn’t leave me alone and many stunk something awful!!!!

But I’m a very deep and Spiritual and well-travelled person, –and believe that every ‘picture’ tells a story’ thus, I had to dig deeper, because …..why on earth should South Bronx differ soooo much from say—the Upper East-side of Manhattan!!!

I learnt a lot, mainly that ‘Crack’ cocaine had devastated this once good neighbourhood, thus many parts were now ‘no-go-areas’ for the likes of me!!!

I don’t know if Karen Curley has ever visited certain corners of South Bronx (I know that things have changed some since my last visit) or even as some of my stateside cousins are saying, --ever visited some corners of Detroit… Because I think Karen Curley needs to know that there many problems resulting from poverty in her very own America –and that like most educated, caring, well-travelled individuals –I take no pleasure in the sad fact that there are at least the “100 million “poor” or “near poor” Americans in 2013!!!!

Personally, I feel that Karen Curley is entitled to her off-skew opinions/views …..but must do some thorough research before embarking on her next trip outside of the States ---Because if she had done her research, she would have known that Ghana is in Africa, and that like the rest of Africa and the third world for that matter –it has some serious issues ---but then, and this is only a guess, I’m thinking, that the “100 million “poor” or “near poor” Americans” mentioned on -, the lovely people of Appalachian County who live without running water mentioned here: or the “thousands of people living without lights, water or gas” in Detroit: or the thousands of homeless people living ---not just on the streets of America but hidden from the likes of Karen Curley – in “dark and dirty underground flood tunnels below the famous Las Vegas strip.” via: or the other homeless people given “emergency trailer parks by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina” ---- -are thinking that --- America has some serious issues too!!!

The following text was written 2011, thus, I’m hoping Karen Curley has grown up, maybe taken a much-needed good old fashion trip around her very own country America – and might want to revisit Ghana –right now in 2013 as a more educated worldly traveller… Then we can ……right now in 2013 –talk: poverty, dirtiness, overzealous men, sanitation systems, Kantamanto, burning trash and faeces et al in Ghana!!!!



Title: Why Ghana Is Not A Tourist Friendly Place To Visit
By: Karen Curley / Dated: 09/14/11

I think travel makes you a well-rounded person and can help us appreciate what we have in America. As an American, I'm used to having a certain comfort level. I like having a hot shower, food and, yes, even air conditioning. If you are traveling to Ghana don't expect any of these things. I went to Ghana on assignment for a newspaper and stayed in Accra, the capitol city. Even though it's a developing nation you would expect that the capital would have some amenities. It did and it didn't.

Only twenty percent of Ghanaians have flush toilets in their homes. People have no choice but to urinate right in the middle of the street -- a real eye opener. I was riding in a taxi with my roommate and all of a sudden we stopped and our driver got out. I thought for sure we were going to be kidnapped and sold off to the highest bidder. (I have seen way too many horror movies.) I looked out the back window and our driver was peeing on the side of the road like it was nothing. He got back in the car and off we went. I will never get that picture out of my head. There is no sanitation system there. Sometimes the smell knocked me back ten feet.

The poverty over there is heartbreaking. One day I was walking around the city and happened upon an abandoned railroad station called Kantamanto. Over four thousand homeless people were living there. All around, people were wandering around half-dressed begging for food or money. There was burning trash and feces everywhere. It was one of the saddest things I've ever seen. The people over there do not know how to react to white people. When I was walking around the market I was constantly poked and prodded like a lab rat. I think some wanted to touch me because they had never seen a white person. Just trying to look in one of the outdoor markets proved an impossible task. I couldn't even walk a foot without getting my clothes pulled on, my butt poked at, or my back hit. And forget about taking pictures. No one likes having their pictures taken. If the police catch you taking pictures, which they call snapping. Even if it's just a building, they pull you to the side and tell you to stop. I was told that sometimes they even take you in to their police station for interrogation.

If you want to go to the beach forget it. The beaches there are disgusting. The water is filled with trash and it's not even clean enough to go swimming. I witnessed a waterfall of trash going right into the ocean and no one seemed to care. You can't even take a nice walk on the beach because everyone is poking you or trying to be your so called "friend."

To be honest, I did go over there to work. I had a lot of great work experiences and some of the things I saw really changed my world perspective. I'm glad I went over there. But I would definitely not go over there on vacation.
Credit: Karen Curley / Huffington Post
"I have been to Ghana on four different occasions and as you say there is poverty. That said I have also visited neighborhoods there that in their splendor equal, and in some cases, exceed some neighborhoods here. As you say there is poverty and lack of sanitation but there is also wealth and progress. Finally if one is in the habit of using western standards for comparison there will be disappointment. On the other hand there are basic standards and decent sanitation is one of them. So you do have a point. The blame in such cases lies with the populace and those that govern it. The solution? I wish I knew."  linmarco


  1. Dear Sir,

    You absolutely do not have permission to repost my article, Why Ghana Is Not A Tourist Friendly Place. You also do not have The Huffington Post's Permission. If you do not take this down immediately I will let the Post know what you are doing. They do not take kindly to having their content reposted without their permission. I will contact Google also as to what you are doing. If you do not take this down asap, I will pursue legal action. .

    Karen Curley

    1. Dear Karen Curley

      This is a Blog, -and like most blogs, have at time reposted various articles that mention Ghana, good, bad or indifferent from various media outlets, be it newspapers, magazines, other blogs et al and have always credited them.

      I think that maybe my words ---which I have no intention of removing from my blog, must have hit a nerve!!!

      I can remove your words and send a link to where it’s located and people will still be able to read your narrow-minded views on Ghana…

      Maybe you should have addressed this post in a better manner. Maybe you should have taken the time ---and made clear some of the issues I raised in my post. Plus as you can see, most of the words are mine –do you propse that I take that down too because you don’t like them???

      I’m open to you addressing some of the points I raised but I’m not going to take down my own words…

      I’m also intrigued; tell me, did the sooo called dirty people you wrote about in said text give you permission to take their photos? And did they know that you intended to degrade and disrespect them and their country in such a way!!!

      As I have said in my piece, you are entitled to your views –allow me mine, even if it’s contrary to yours and you don’t like it. Note, many Ghanaians didn’t like what you wrote, as it was narrow, very damaging and trashed an entire nation ---but none of us have requested to have said post taken down from The Huffington Post website…

      Ghana Rising Blog

    2. To Karen Curley

      These narrow minded white people are messed up....sometimes education fucks u up trust me. Karen Curley wirley, Ghana did not invite you.... you decided to take yourself.

      BTW you could do with loosing some weight with the image you have on Huffington post, that bat arms could do with some work out.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Dear Ghana Rising,

    Well said, please dont ever delete this article

    These narrow minded white people are messed up....sometimes education fucks u up trust me. Karen Curley wirley, Ghana did not invite you.... you decided to take yourself.

    BTW you could do with loosing some weight with the image you have on Huffington post, that bat arms could do with some work out.

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